Chinese pond-heron

Chinese pond-heron
Ardeola bacchus

Photo by Foozi Saad (Trek Nature)

Common name:
Chinese pond-heron (en); papa-ratos-da-China (pt); crabier chinois (fr); garcilla china (es); Bacchusreiher (de)

Order Ciconiiformes 
Family Ardeidae

This species breeds throughout the eastern half of China, as well as in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and marginally into extreme south-eastern Russia. They migrate south to winter from southern China south to the Philippines and northern Indonesia.

These birds are 42-52 cm long and have a wingspan of 79-90 cm. They weigh about 370 g.

The Chinese pond-heron is found in a wide range of wetland habitats, including rice fields, swamps and marshes, freshwater lakes, river banks, saltmarshes and mangroves, also using dry grasslands.

They feed on small frogs, fishes, worms, snails, both aquatic and terrestrial insects, crabs and even small birds.

Chinese pond-herons breed in April-August. They nest in small colonies, sometimes with other herons species, each pair building a large bowl made of small twigs and lined with grasses and leaves, fairly high up in a tree. There the female lays 4-5 blue green eggs which are incubated by both parents for 18-22 days. The chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises 2 broods per season.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is very roughly estimated at 25.000-1.000.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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